To me, early learning for toddlers and preschoolers should be fun with lots of flexibility for creativity. As I watch my kids play with their toys, there is no one toy they play with. They may start out with the Legos or Playmobil castle; somewhere along the line, someone needs to build a wall from wooden blocks. Someone else creates a road with masking tape. Occasionally, costume accessories are necessary for the participants in the attack on the castle.
Other times, kids need and seek out opportunities to focus on one skill until they’ve mastered it. Montessori activities give kids this opportunity to practice the one thing they want to work on without distracting rabbit trails. They master the skill and move on to the next one to work; they may circle back later to work on the mastered skill again as reinforcement.
I’m sharing 2 Montessori activities today which may have a relatively short time span for a child’s interest. My toddlers liked these activities; I’ll be sharing them with my preschooler to help strengthen his writing hand. I set these fine motor skill activities up on the periphery of our main activities for a short break.
Pins in a jar is an easy activity, and simple to set up. I found the white tray at Ikea, and the small red plate is from a play set. The jar is a salt shaker from the dollar store, and the pins came from my sewing supplies. You can vary this by using containers with bigger and smaller holes as long as the first finger and thumb are used to grasp objects.
Many of us have the supplies for the color mixing tray around the house, especially if there’s a baby in the house. I used baby food jars; half pint canning jars are another option. Any small clear glass container allows the child to see the original colors along with the mixing of the colors. The medicine dropper is a discarded clean one from one of my kid’s OTC medicines; the food coloring is just the standard liquid version found in the baking aisle of the grocery store.
What Montessori activities do you use to help your kids develop their fine motor skills?
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